In 1932, J.A. Johnson organized a women’s book club to discuss current events and interesting titles.
More than 80 years later, the Century Study Club is now the oldest book club in Jefferson City.
When the club was founded, meetings and parties fulfilled a social life for several Capital City women, traditionally including Missouri’s first lady.
The 35-member group held its annual luncheon Tuesday at the Hawthorn Bank Community Room in Jefferson City.
Current first lady Teresa Parson was given honorary membership. She attended Tuesday’s luncheon and said she plans to attend meetings as her schedule allows.
Members of the Century Study Club meet once a month from September through May to hear a presentation about a selected book. Organization President Judy Krueger said women join by invitation and must be willing to be committed to the group.
A committee chooses titles for the year, which are traditionally history or non-fiction.
“We like to do a lot of non-fiction,” Krueger said. “It’s a little more serious.”
While the club is in session, nine members are chosen to give the book report. Member Anne Lock said the reports include a lot of background research on the author and interesting things in the book.
An eight-year member, Lock said she considers every member a close friend. Still, she gets nervous when it’s her turn to present.
Members decide if they want to read a book based on the review, but more than likely they have already read it. This year, members have presented on titles such as “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Moonflower Vine” and “Standing in the Rainbow.”
The club’s meetings were formal in the beginning, with historian notes from the organization discussing attendees and quality of tablecloths. The club also has shifted from meeting in individuals’ homes to a community room.
Lock said the organization gathers educated women together who are willing to keep learning.
“It really teaches you a very diverse amount of information,” Lock said. “It’s such a wonderful group of ladies from all walks of life.”
Marge Blosser, who joined the group in 1988, said she enjoys it for the fellowship more than anything.
At Tuesday’s luncheon, local author Victoria Hubble presented on her 2017 book “Blood River Rising,” the story of a family feud in Miller County involving the Ku Klux Klan and a double homicide.